Monday, 19 February 2018

A Stitch In Time

Did you watch the recent series "A Stitch In Time" on BBC4? I loved it - slightly eccentric Suffolk girl, Amber Butchart, looked at 6 outfits from history [paintings, a sculpture, and a jacket] and gifted tailor Ninya Mikhaila re-created them.
Nina is amazing - check out her website
Here she is in Tudor garb with darling daughter Holly.

Her team were truly brilliant, researching and experimenting, to try to find the techniques used by needleworkers in history.
The nearest I have got to historical stitching recently has been to refurbish a needlecase. I found it in a 20p bin in a Charity Shop, and thought it was lovely.
The cover is a piece of vintage Cash's woven embroidered silk.
Back in the early 19th Century, Coventry was full of weaving companies- many of the founders were Huguenots who'd fled religious persecution in mainland Europe. One such company was being run in 1846 by two Quaker brothers, John and Joseph Cash. They employed outworkers, who had Jacquard looms in their homes. They produced beautiful ribbons and trims, and as their business grew, switched to a factory model, but maintained a high standard of welfare for their staff. In the 1870s, they introduced their now world renowned woven name tapes.  Even the Queen uses these! They last forever. I have towels and a PE bag from my schooldays, and a pillowcase Bob took to Oxford as a student, still neatly labelled. And my tin of Elizabeth and Stephanie's labels are frequently trimmed, whenever I need to stitch "Almond" onto a bag holding PA gear!
But Cash's also produced embroidered pictures, and bookmarks. This needlecase incorporates a picture of snowdrops. Inside the back cover there is piece of one of the descriptive cards which would have come with these miniature works of art.
The stitching had come adrift, and the button loop was missing. It was in a sorry state. I mended it neatly.

Now it looks much better, and is strong enough to be useful.


  1. That programme sounds fab! I remember those name labels. We had them too. I WISH our kids at school did as things are always going missing!!

  2. Sounds like a very interesting program and the little needle case is very pretty.


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